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TitleComparative geologic mapping of gossans on Earth and Mars
AuthorLemelin, M; Williamson, M -CORCID logo; Léveillé, R J; Doucet, F R
SourceThe 51st Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, program and abstracts; Proceedings of the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference 2656, 2020 p. 1-2 Open Access logo Open Access
LinksOnline - En ligne
Alt SeriesNatural Resources Canada, Contribution Series 20200059
PublisherLunar and Planetary Institute
Meeting51st Lunar and Planetary Science Conference; Houston, TX; US; March 16-20, 2020
DocumentWeb site
Mediaon-line; digital
File formatpdf
AreaAxel Heiberg Island; Expedition Fiord; White Glacier
Lat/Long WENS -90.8333 -90.5000 79.4667 79.4000
Subjectssurficial geology/geomorphology; extraterrestrial geology; Science and Technology; Nature and Environment; gossans; glaciers; remote sensing; satellite imagery; hydrothermal systems; paleoenvironment; Arctic Digital Elevation Model (ArcticDEM); Space exploration
Illustrationsschematic cross-sections; photographs; satellite images; location maps; digital elevation models
ProgramGSC Central Canada Division
Released2020 03 16
One of the main goals in the field of planetary exploration is to document the geological record and processes that have shaped the surface of the rocky planets, their moons and asteroids. Remote sensing measurements acquired by orbital spacecraft are the first component by which this information is obtained. Spaceborne remote sensing instruments acquire data in different regions of the electromagnetic spectrum and typically provide information on the properties of planetary surfaces at the meter to kilometer scale. They are a crucial tool to establish the global to regional context of geologic processes and the precursor to discoveries made by landers, rovers and astronauts at the local scale. Landers and rovers on Mars, the Moon or comets have also relied, most of the time, on the use of remote sensing instruments to characterize the surface at such fine scale. Follow up analyses of samples, either in situ or once returned to Earth, in turn provide the most detailed information. They allow thorough mineralogical, elemental and isotopic analyses in a laboratory setting. In this paper, we outline a project to study gossans in permafrost in the White Glacier (WG) area of Axel Heiberg Island, Nunavut, as analogues for gossans on Mars that may be linked to paleo-hydrothermal systems. Our project objectives include (1) the identification and mapping of gossans on a regional scale using high-resolution satellite imagery, and (2) laboratory analyses to further investigate the composition and biosignatures of samples collected during fieldwork.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
Gossans are highly weathered, iron-rich soils overlying bedrock. On Earth, these deposits form in a wide range of geologic settings but outcrops are generally a few meters to kilometers in size. Gossans that occur in permafrost in sparsely vegetated areas of the Canadian Arctic are natural laboratories for the study of sulfates and iron oxides identified on Mars. In this publication, we outline the objectives and methods of the T-MARS analogue mission suppported by the Canadian Space Agency. The project objectives include (1) the identification and mapping of gossans on a regional scale using high-resolution satellite imagery, and (2) laboratory analyses to determine the composition and bio-signatures of samples collected during fieldwork in northermost Nunavut.

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